There’s this giddy, kid-like sense of anticipation you get when you see the 2018 Ford Mustang GT, right before you man up and take the wheel. That feeling is largely due to everything you’ve heard about the wicked performance capabilities housed in the latest version of the classic American muscle car. And yet, all the initial buzz doesn’t come close to what it’s like actually test-driving the new Mustang. Here are the big takeaways from our own exhilarating experience.
1. So Much Power
What’s the first thing you do when aiming to make a Mustang better? Crank up the power, of course. The Fastback delivers big here, as the new V8-equipped Mustang puts out a menacing 460 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, an increase of 25 HP and 20 lb.-ft. of torque over the previous model.
2. Quicker than a 911
Exactly how fast is the new Mustang GT Fastback? According to Ford it has a 0 to 60 mph time of under 4 seconds, making it quicker than a Porsche 911. Our recent test drive was pretty much limited to a few desolate stretches of roads in Malibu, California. But we got every indication that the new Mustang is fully capable of living up to the claim.
3. One of the Most Amazing Automatics on the Planet
In years past, the fastest Mustangs have typically been associated with models equipped with a manual transmission. But the new Mustang GT credits a huge part of its lightning-quick speed to a next-gen 10-speed automatic transmission. Rumor has it the auto trans-equipped Mustang GT is capable of faster shifts than a 6-speed manual GT in the hands of a pro driver.
4. More Tools for the Track
Although it’s geared for road thrills, a Mustang GT wouldn’t be a Mustang GT if it didn’t have something up its sleeve for the track. This one boasts a slew of new features aimed at improving its performance on the tarmac, but the one getting the most hype is a new Drag Strip mode that makes the Mustang GT even quicker straight off the line.
5. Split Personality
Even pure, unfiltered American muscle can have a bit of luxury appeal, thanks to features like a hand-stitched wrap for the center console armrest, a design element that is mirrored across the instrument panel as well. Still, it’s the grittier feel of the Mustang, grounded in that rumbling V8 engine, that we find most appealing.
6. Refined Muscle
This ’Stang also features an uncanny ability to take on a much calmer demeanor. That feeling owes much to a new MagneRide suspension system, which uses sensors to adjust the shocks 1,000 times a second, providing the driver with the best ride and handling, even when simply cruising on the road.
7. Cool Effects
One of the biggest new in-vehicle tech features is Ford’s first 12-inch all-digital LCD instrument display, which features 26 color options and displays for up to eight gauges. The screen can also be personalized, offering different views for the car’s various driving modes, normal/snow/wet, sport and track/drag. There’s also a new Mustang MyMode that enables owners to save their favorite exhaust note preferences, including a “quiet” mode that’ll keep the neighbors off your back when pulling in after a late-night run.
8. Still a Classic
As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And happily, most of the cosmetic changes on the Mustang are pretty mild: a few subtle updates like a remodeled hood and grille. Oh, and that hot, cape-like rear spoiler on the back. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same silhouette we fell in love with back in 2014.
9. Supercar Appeal You Can Actually Own
Every cool thing comes at a cost, especially when it’s got all the new goodies packed into the 2018 Mustang. So, as you might expect, the cost of the Mustang GT has gone up a bit. But given the kind of everyday thrills that come with the car, it’s well worth its new sticker price, which starts at a little over $35,000 for the Mustang GT Fastback.
10. More to Come
Never one to revel too long in the moment, Ford is already working on even more upgrades for the Mustang, including a more adrenaline-rushing high-performance package. Let’s just hope that Ford doesn’t tamper too much with the car’s overall design. Because what they’re offering now is a real beaut.